How to Renounce the Estate

by Anna Assad
    It's possible to decline inheritance but you must do so officially.

    It's possible to decline inheritance but you must do so officially.

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    You may renounce an estate by completing and filling a renunciation form in the probate court handling the estate proceedings. Once you renounce your interest in the estate, you don't have any legal right to, or responsibility for, the inheritance you were left. An heir may renounce an estate for various reasons, including to avoid inheritance tax consequences or to decline ownership of property that is carrying debt. You must renounce the estate before you take legal possession of your inherited property.

    Step 1

    Visit the office of the probate court handling the estate. Ask the court clerk for the form necessary to renounce your interest in an estate.

    Step 2

    Complete the form. Forms differ by state, but you usually need the deceased person's name, date of death and the probate court's case number.

    Step 3

    Ask the court clerk where notarial services are located in the court. Sign and date the renunciation form in front of a notary and have her notarize your signature.

    Step 4

    File the form in the probate court. You might have to pay a filling fee; fees vary by court. Ask for at least two stamped copies. Keep one copy and give the other copy to the estate's executor or administrator.

    Things Needed

    • Renunciation form
    • Filling fee payment

    Tips & Warnings

    • If you want to renounce only a partial interest in the estate, you may, but you must use the wording required by your state laws. Speak to an attorney if you want to renounce part of your inheritance only.
    • If you owned property together with the deceased, your state may not allow you to give up your interest in the joint property on a renunciation.
    • A renunciation of your inheritance may be viewed as a transfer of assets by some programs, including Medicaid.

    About the Author

    Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

    Photo Credits

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